AIM 2-1-8

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FIG 2-1-10 Runway Entrance Lights

2-1-8. Pilot Control of Airport Lighting

Radio control of lighting is available at selected airports to provide airborne control of lights by keying the aircraft's microphone. Control of lighting systems is often available at locations without specified hours for lighting and where there is no control tower or FSS or when the tower or FSS is closed (locations with a part‐time tower or FSS) or specified hours. All lighting systems which are radio controlled at an airport, whether on a single runway or multiple runways, operate on the same radio frequency. (See TBL 2-1-1 and TBL 2-1-2.)

FIG 2-1-11 Takeoff Hold Lights
FIG 2-1-12 Taxiway Lead-On Light Configuration
TBL 2-1-1 Runways With Approach Lights
Lighting
System
No. of Int.
Steps
Status During
Nonuse Period
Intensity Step Selected Per No.
of Mike Clicks
3 Clicks 5 Clicks 7 Clicks
Approach Lights (Med. Int.) 2 Off Low Low High
Approach Lights (Med. Int.) 3 Off Low Med High
MIRL 3 Off or Low
HIRL 5 Off or Low
VASI 2 Off
NOTES: ◆ Predetermined intensity step.
✬ Low intensity for night use. High intensity for day use as determined by photocell control.
TBL 2-1-2 Runways Without Approach Lights
Lighting
System
No. of Int.
Steps
Status During
Nonuse Period
Intensity Step Selected Per No.
of Mike Clicks
3 Clicks 5 Clicks 7 Clicks
MIRL 3 Off or Low Low Med. High
HIRL 5 Off or Low Step 1 or 2 Step 3 Step 5
LIRL 1 Off On On On
VASI 2 Off
REIL✬ 1 Off Off On/Off On
REIL✬ 3 Off Low Med. High
NOTES: ◆ Predetermined intensity step.
✬ Low intensity for night use. High intensity for day use as determined by photocell control.

a. With FAA approved systems, various combinations of medium intensity approach lights, runway lights, taxiway lights, VASI and/or REIL may be activated by radio control. On runways with both approach lighting and runway lighting (runway edge lights, taxiway lights, etc.) systems, the approach lighting system takes precedence for air‐to‐ground radio control over the runway lighting system which is set at a predetermined intensity step, based on expected visibility conditions. Runways without approach lighting may provide radio controlled intensity adjustments of runway edge lights. Other lighting systems, including VASI, REIL, and taxiway lights may be either controlled with the runway edge lights or controlled independently of the runway edge lights.

b. The control system consists of a 3-step control responsive to 7, 5, and/or 3 microphone clicks. This 3-step control will turn on lighting facilities capable of either 3-step, 2-step or 1-step operation. The 3-step and 2-step lighting facilities can be altered in intensity, while the 1-step cannot. All lighting is illuminated for a period of 15 minutes from the most recent time of activation and may not be extinguished prior to end of the 15 minute period (except for 1-step and 2-step REILs which may be turned off when desired by keying the mike 5 or 3 times respectively).

c. Suggested use is to always initially key the mike 7 times; this assures that all controlled lights are turned on to the maximum available intensity. If desired, adjustment can then be made, where the capability is provided, to a lower intensity (or the REIL turned off) by keying 5 and/or 3 times. Due to the close proximity of airports using the same frequency, radio controlled lighting receivers may be set at a low sensitivity requiring the aircraft to be relatively close to activate the system. Consequently, even when lights are on, always key mike as directed when overflying an airport of intended landing or just prior to entering the final segment of an approach. This will assure the aircraft is close enough to activate the system and a full 15 minutes lighting duration is available. Approved lighting systems may be activated by keying the mike (within 5 seconds) as indicated in TBL 2-1-3.

TBL 2-1-3 Radio Control System
Key Mike Function
7 times within 5 seconds Highest intensity available
5 times within 5 seconds Medium or lower intensity (Lower REIL or REIL-off)
3 times within 5 seconds Lowest intensity available (Lower REIL or REIL-off)

d. For all public use airports with FAA standard systems the Airport/Facility Directory contains the types of lighting, runway and the frequency that is used to activate the system. Airports with IAPs include data on the approach chart identifying the light system, the runway on which they are installed, and the frequency that is used to activate the system.

NOTE - Although the CTAF is used to activate the lights at many airports, other frequencies may also be used. The appropriate frequency for activating the lights on the airport is provided in the Airport/Facility Directory and the standard instrument approach procedures publications. It is not identified on the sectional charts.

e. Where the airport is not served by an IAP, it may have either the standard FAA approved control system or an independent type system of different specification installed by the airport sponsor. The Airport/Facility Directory contains descriptions of pilot controlled lighting systems for each airport having other than FAA approved systems, and explains the type lights, method of control, and operating frequency in clear text.


Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) — Chapter 2
2-1-1 - 2-1-2 - 2-1-3 - 2-1-4 - 2-1-5 - 2-1-6 - 2-1-7 - 2-1-8 - 2-1-9 - 2-1-10 - 2-2-1 - 2-2-2 - 2-2-3 - 2-3-1 - 2-3-2 - 2-3-3 - 2-3-4 - 2-3-5 - 2-3-6 - 2-3-7 - 2-3-8 - 2-3-9 - 2-3-10 - 2-3-11 - 2-3-12 - 2-3-13 - 2-3-14 - 2-3-15